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Sleep and mental health

Did you know that sleep and mental health are often linked?

People living with a mental health difficulty may experience problems sleeping and sleep problems can negatively impact on mental wellbeing. Our bodies need sleep yet many people struggle with it.

Sleep problems can include:

  • Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up earlier than desired (this is known as insomnia)
  • Waking up from sleep because of panic attacks (after a traumatic event which can be linked to PTSD), nightmares and/or night terrors, or psychosis
  • Trouble waking up or getting out of bed
  • Consistent feelings of tiredness or sleepiness, which may be due to insufficient sleep, poor quality sleep or health issues
  • Excessive sleep, including sleeping during times when you need or want to be awake

There are lots of things that can affect our sleep, such as:

“Sleep hygiene” refers to the healthy habits that you can practice help have a good night’s sleep. Click here for tips on how you can improve your sleep. From the list of things that could affect sleep, sleep hygiene helps with poor sleeping habits.

Getting help with mental health and sleep difficulties

If you are experiencing mental health and sleep difficulties despite having a healthy sleep hygiene, you can speak to your GP. Your GP may refer you to appropriate services such as paediatrician or sleep clinic or you may be referred to a service such as  CAMHS for help with your mental health difficulty.  Medication may sometimes be prescribed to help with sleep difficulties. Some sleep medication can have dangerous side effects and you can become dependent on them.


How to get help

If you have any more questions on this area or would like to speak to somebody about this topic, have a look at the links or search for your local services in the blue box below. Alternatively you can always contact your school nurse.

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Find out what services are available to you in your area. Remember your school nurse is always there to give you confidential help and support.

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